Suspect in aspiring model's murder was 'muscle' for doctor, D.A. says
New court documents released in a case involving the killing of an aspiring Santa Monica model detail several instances in which a doctor allegedly employed enforcers to ensure that he got his way.
In documents released earlier this month, attorneys prosecuting Kelly Soo Park in the 2008 killing of Juliana Redding, 21, say Park “has a history of threatening and intimidating individuals who have an ongoing dispute with” doctor and businessman Munir Uwaydah.
Though Uwaydah has not been charged, prosecutors said that on at least two other occasions, Park and her former boyfriend, Ronnie Case, worked as “muscles” for Uwaydah.
A transcript of grand jury proceedings previously reported by The Times alleged that Redding had been calling police for help when the killer snatched the phone from her hands and hung up. The newly released documents allege that Park stalked Redding in the days leading up to the slaying. The documents say DNA evidence was discovered on Redding’s neck and on the knob of a gas stove that was turned up in an attempt to blow up the apartment.
Though prosecutors have previously implicated Uwaydah in court hearings, the new documents more specifically detailed two additional incidents in which Park and her boyfriend served as the doctor’s “debt collectors.”
The Marina del Rey physician, prosecutors have said, had dated Redding and was close to launching a pharmaceutical business with Redding's father, who backed out of the deal days before the killing.Prosecutors previously told The Times that the doctor had fled the United States the day Park was arrested. It was unclear Wednesday whether he had returned, but in the court documents prosecutors made clear “the People are not seeking to prove that the defendant murdered Ms. Redding at the direction of Dr. Uwaydah.” Rather, they continued, the intent was to “intimidate and threaten” Redding.
The newly released documents allege that Uwaydah had previously sent Park and her boyfriend to the home of another man to bully him into making payments on a $350,000 judgment in 2008. Two years later, around the time of Redding’s death, the documents allege that Park and her boyfriend were again instructed by Uwaydah to use intimidation tactics on a bank manager who had withdrawn from a business deal.
Park has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder. A pretrial conference is set for Oct. 24 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. No trial date has been set.
-- Matt Stevens